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NEWS | March 31, 2024

District of Columbia National Guard holds Women Empowerment Panel to celebrate Women’s History Month

By Sgt. Tyrone Williams, 715th Public Affairs Detachment

District of Columbia National Guard presents “Women’s Empowerment Hour” on March 28, 2024, in D.C. National Guard Armory. The panel was conducted in celebration of Women’s’ History Month.

Women’s History Month first began as ‘Women’s History Week’ in 1982. Five years later, the national celebration evolved into ‘Women’s History Month.’ Between 1988 and 1994, Congress added additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March as Women’s History Month annually.

“The panel is a coordinated collaboration with the District of Columbia National Guard and the District of Columbia government staff located here in the DC Armory,” said LTC. Sekou Richardson, J9, Joint Resiliency Director. “The intent is for this to be an interactive empowering experience.”

The women’s empowerment panel comprised of various women in leadership positions. The panel features Capt. Mayauda Bowens, Logistics Support Operations Officer; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Annette Johnson-Tate, DCARNG Officer Strength Manager; Chief Master Sgt. Naconda Hinton, Senior Enlisted Leader, 113th Medical Group; Ms. Nicole McDermott, Chief of Staff (DCGO-DCNG) and Vakisa Bragg, Program Analyst.

The event began with introductions from Brig. Gen. Leland Blanchard, Commander, D.C. National Guard Land Component Command (LCC), Lt. Col. Sekou Richardson, J9 Joint Resiliency Director and Marcus Hunt, Director DC Government Operations- DCNG welcoming the audience and thanking the panel for their participation. They also spoke of past and present trailblazers and their achievements.

“Speaking of trailblazers, we cannot overlook Mayor Bowser’s historic achievements, as she recently secured her third term in office. Mayor Bowser's leadership is a testament to the resilience and determination of women in positions of power,” Hunt said. "Her historic re-election is not just a personal achievement but a powerful reminder of the boundless potential that exists when women are given the opportunity to lead. But let us not forget that the success of these extraordinary women is not an isolated incident. They are part of a larger movement – a movement in which women are not merely breaking the glass ceiling but shattering it into a million pieces. From boardrooms to Commanding Generals, classrooms to courtrooms, women are making their mark and reshaping the world in their image."

During the event, panel members answered questions, shared stories, and talked about their experiences in the military and in government. The audience questions ranged from the panel’s personal experiences in the guard, changes in the workforce, work life balance and mentorship.

“Our mission is bigger than us,’ said Bragg while responding to a question about women in the workforce. “We have a dual mission. We must reach forward for future goals while reaching back to help others along. We have to look beyond and see that there is more.”

The event also featured professional development vendors such as Maryland University Global Campus, Potomac University, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and the Department of Employment Services.

The hour ended with applause for the panelist and tokens of appreciation from leadership for their willingness to support and share their experiences. The District of Columbia National Guard celebrates all women in its' ranks and beyond this Women’s History Month.

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